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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in sofia
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Sofia (?????) is the capital of Bulgaria and the biggest city with about 1.3 mln citizens (including suburbs).
The cheapest way to get into Sofia, both from the countryside or from abroad, is by bus. With buses going several times a day in all directions Sofia is well connected to all regions. International connections are available to several locations in Greece, to Istanbul, twice a day to/ from Vienna, and several times a week to different cities of Western Europe. Example for bus fares (one way tickets: Thessaloniki: 68 levas (54 lv. for travellers younger than 26); Vienna 94 levas (82 lv. for travellers younger than 26). For bus lines see Airkona (http://www.airkona.com) and MTT (http://www.skgt-bg.com).
International trains provide a large number of routes to Sofia, arriving from such places as Kiev, Istanbul, Vienna, and other common cities.
The primary trains from Bucharest to Sofia, and back, run twice daily through the border city of Ruse. For example, recent trains are scheduled from Bucharest to Sofia in the daytime departing 11:35/arriving 21:30 and a night train departing 19:35/arriving 06:10. Passport control and customs takes place in Ruse, approximately mid-trip. Check local trainstations for updated information.
There are several flights a day to Vienna, and daily flights to some of the major European hubs. Tickets of traditional airlines can be pretty expensive (since there arent that many lines flying daily to sofia).
Bulgarian flag-carrier airline is "Bulgaria Air" (http://www.air.bg/en) with Sofia as a hub, and for example two-way ticket to/from Madrid & Barcelona will be about 230 Euros. Another Bulgarian company "Viaggio Air" (http://www.viaggioair.com) can also be a bargain with two-way ticket to Vienna for 200 Euros and to Istanbul for 100 Euros. Other traditional airlines with flights to/from Sofia are Air France, Al Italia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Czech Airlines, Helios Air, LOT, Lufthansa, Malev, Olympic Airways, Tarom, and Turkish Airlines.
As of January 2006 there are two low-cost carriers traveling to Bulgaria. These are WizzAir (http://www.wizzair.com/) which recently started daily flights to/from Budapest and from there to about 12 European destinations and SkyEurope (http://www.skyeurope.com) with hub-airport Bratislava. They use same airport with flights landing and taking off at night.
Cheap charters to Varna and Burgas airports on the Black Sea coast are available (especially in spring & fall), and from there to Sofia (for about 60 euros one-way).
The highway from Sofia towards Plovdiv is the best road to/from Sofia. It ends about 40 km after Plovdiv and from there to Istanbul, or a first-class road to Stara Zagora, Sliven, and the second-largest seaport Burgas.
Otherwise coming from Greece the road is in very good shape (thanks to a EU-led road-restoration programme) almost until Sofia (only the last 40 or so km after Dupnitza being hole-filled), so the 300 km from Thessaloniki are done fairly fast if you don't happen to fall into big waiting-lines at the border. Coming from Macedonia, the roads are in rather bad shape. From Central Europe you can drive almost the whole length on highways (via Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia or Hungary-Serbia), only the last 100 km between Nis in Southern Serbia and Sofia being heavily trafficked mountain roads in not the best shape.
Sofia has quite a vibrant night life scene. You can find anything from big folk-pop (tchalga) or dance clubs to small rock clubs or alternative hangouts.